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If your bike is handling poorly or you’ve purchased an old motorcycle that has been sitting outside, it’s probably time to change your wheel bearings.
You should replace your wheel bearings whenever the hub or axle seem to be getting too hot. This could indicate that the bearings are dragging or have lost lubrication. In either case, it’s best to replace them with new bearings.
When you’re done with your wheel bearings, you can move on to servicing your brakes and steering stem bearings.
How to Remove Motorcycle Hub Bearings
To remove your motorcycle wheel bearings:
- Remove the seals. Some can be popped out, others screw in.
- For seals that screw in, you may need to slightly drill out where the threads were locked.
- With a bearing removal tool or a large drift, move around the bearings and drive them out.
- If using a drift and hammer, work evenly around the bearing so it doesn’t get twisted.
Certain hubs have a smaller inside hole to catch the bearing race. On these hubs, the bearing can only be removed and installed from one side. Be sure to only hit the bearing and not the wheel casing when driving bearing in or out.
Whenever you drive bearings out of a hub, they should be replaced with new bearings.
Go slow and try not to damage the hub.
How to Install Motorcycle Wheel Bearings
To install new wheel bearings:
- Clean out the hub.
- Drive in the new bearings, being sure to add the center spacer. Make sure to only apply force to the outside bearing race. If you hit the inside race, you will destroy the bearing.
- Pack your new bearings with grease.
- Replace the bearing seal or retainer and reinstall your axles and wheels.
Refer to your shop manual for the exact sequence.
If wheel bearings are proving difficult to remove or to get it, you can heat up the hub to make the job a lot easier.